This is the second retelling of 1,001 Nights I’ve read this year, and I liked it. I was concerned about reading it so close (within a few months) of reading The Wrath and the Dawn duology, because I adored that one. However, I needn’t have worried because this was very different and enjoyable in its own right. A Thousand Nights follows an unnamed young girl who volunteers to become the bride of the king, Lo-Melkhiim, in order to save her sister. The king has been marrying young girls and murdering them under mysterious circumstances, and the narrator wants her sister to live. What follows is the story of how she manages to survive and attempt to solve the mystery behind her husband.
The mythology here was very different from The Wrath and the Dawn. It’s a bit more mysterious and much less straightforward, and is never really fully explained. I found I really loved that about it, leaving an air of mystery even after the story was done. There was magic and religion and skepticism, and it was all entwined in interesting ways.
I also enjoyed the story, though it did move a bit slower than I would normally like. It was beautifully told, though at times did drag for me. I was interested, but there were times I had to put the book down and take a break because of pacing. The characters were all interesting, and the relationship between the narrator and her sister was beautifully shown through flashbacks and visions. While the characters were interesting, I didn’t feel as connected to them throughout the novel as I wanted to, and because of that, the ending fell flat for me.
The last part I want to talk about was the what made the biggest impression on me. While the only named character is the king, the narrator often discusses the role of women in her society. She talks about how the men are okay with the king killing, as long as they’re prosperous, whereas the women realize the true gravity of the situation. Throughout the story, the women’s role is discussed, particularly when it comes to the power they can wield, as the men ignore them. I found that to be a very powerful theme.
Overall, I found this novel really enjoyable. If you’re looking for a love story, this isn’t really that. If you’re looking for an interesting take on 1,001 Nights, this is definitely that. It has a fascinating mythology and beautiful writing that holds your interest. Despite some things that didn’t quite work for me, I’m also interested in checking out the sequel, Spindle, which seems to be a take on Sleeping Beauty.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5